Major Garett Was Wrong

by Jonah Goldberg

The word “victory” does appear in the ISG report, three times in fact. Each mention deals with the possible consequences of US failure:

If the situation continues to deteriorate, the consequences could be severe. A slide toward chaos could trigger the collapse of Iraq’s government and a humanitarian catastrophe. Neighboring countries could intervene. Sunni-Shia clashes could spread. Al Qaeda could win a propaganda victory and expand its base of operations. The global standing of the United States could be diminished. Americans could become more polarized.

And:

Al Qaeda will portray any failure by the United States in Iraq as a significant victory that will be featured prominently as they recruit for their cause in the region and around the world. Ayman al-Zawahiri, deputy to Osama bin Laden, has declared Iraq a focus for al Qaeda: they will seek to expel the Americans and then spread “the jihad wave to the secular countries neighboring Iraq.” A senior European official told us that failure in Iraq could incite terrorist attacks within his country.

And:

Al Qaeda would depict our withdrawal as a historic victory. If we leave and Iraq descends
into chaos, the long-range consequences could eventually require the United States to return

I’m still reading, but it appears there’s little discussion of an American military victory.

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